Christmas just isn’t Christmas without the kids having fun at a fabulous parade, grown-ups appreciating a glass of French wine or Champagne and everyone enjoying a friendly Christmas Market - which is why Calais really looks forward to welcome you this year.
The town’s gone all out festive with a massive programme of events to tempt you to come and visit and enjoy their warm and welcoming hospitality. And, to celebrate, there's a chance to win return crossings on the Dover/Calais route with P&O Ferries (below).
A short hop across the English Channel and you’ll find yourself in Calais town which has undergone a programme of renovation in the last couple of years. All your old favourites are there, the great shops in rue Royale, including one of the best cheese shops on the coast, plus wine stores and delicious boulangeries. Friendly and hospitable restaurants serve fab food from hearty local stews and soups to gastronomic delights and the freshest of fresh fish and seafood.
There are museums to explore such as the sensational Calais Lace Museum – think it sounds a bit niche – think again. It’s a fascinating place with a wonderful collection of lace from lingerie to ancient garments, working looms and a great little shop where you might just find something for that someone for whom you never know what to buy. And if that’s the case, then the gift shops and Christmas market are bound to offer unique presents with French flair.
Diary of Events
Saturday 26 November at 17.30: The Christmas lights will be switched on and stay twinkling until 1 January.
Calais will welcome the World of Toys, shows, illuminations, street events, concerts, games, a Christmas market and an ice rink. At the neo-renaissance style Town Hall gardens where you’ll find Rodin’s famous Burghers of Calais statues, there will be a magical pine forest.
On the three Sundays before Christmas (4, 11 and 18) the shops will be open plus travel on the Baladin public bus will be free – just hop and off around the whole town.
Friday 2 – Sunday 4 December: Charming Christmas market with 80 chalets where you’ll be able to buy artisan made gifts and delicious local products including cheese and chocolate and of course, Champagne from the neighbouring region of Champagne-Ardenne.
Sunday 4 December at 17.30: A fabulous Christmas parade which is famous in these parts for its sheer joie de vivre and a rather special train! This year Calais is delighted to have the thrilling cavalcade leave from Place Crèvecœur. Drawn by the Christmas Train, the procession of floats will travel through Boulevard Lafayette and Boulevard Jacquard and along the Rue Royale before reaching its destination at the Place d'Armes. Dancers, acrobats, elves, snowmen and animated toys will be performing along the route. It’s a parade the whole family will enjoy.
Saturday 10 December 18.00: Fireworks display and sound and light show about Elias the Elf.
Saturday 17 December 17 17.00: At the church of Notre Dame 100 musicians and a choir will sing classical favourites and Christmas carols.
There’s also a free exhibition of Playmobil from the biggest collector in the world at the Forum Gambetta from 17 December – 1 January.
Shopping in Calais
Take home delicious French cheeses, honey, cakes, chocolate, bread, wine, beer and Champagne and a whole lot more. There are lots of shops in the town, hypermarkets to stock up at and a new farm shop Aux Gouts de la Ferme (exit 46 of the A16) is winning a legion of fans with its fresh farm produce that’s really lush.
You can look forward to a warm welcome in Calais this Christmas and plenty of festive French fun.
WIN a return Crossing Dover/Calais with P&O Ferries
To get you in the Christmas mood our friends at P&O Ferries are giving away 2 return tickets for the Dover/Calais crossing (for car and 4 passengers, valid until 31 March 2017) – click here to enter the draw which ends 10 December 2016.
When: Enjoy the festive fun in Calais from 26 November 2016 -1 January 2017
Price: Free (except ice rink which is €1.50)
Tip: Take a cool bag to take home cheese and yummy fresh yoghurts.
Travel: P&O Ferries operate up to 26 crossings per day between Dover and Calais (duration 1.5 hours).